Delhi Waveriders edge out Punjab Warriors in Hockey India League opener
The third quarter saw the Warriors making a comeback. The visitors looked a team with a purpose, constantly attacking the opposition half. They soon were rewarded with a life in the 43rd minute when Spaniard Roger Padros scored from a reverse flick from the right.
Delhi Waveriders started their campaign on a positive note defeating Jaypee Punjab Warriors 2-1 in the opening match of the inaugural Hockey India league, at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium on Monday.
Delhi rode on goals from Oscar Deecke and Gurvinder Singh Chandi to pocket the win, while Kieran Govers scored the lone goal for Punjab in the HIL opener which was marred by a pitch intrusion by supporters of Hindu Yuwak Sabha.
Shouting anti-Pakistan slogans, two supporters from Hindu Yuwak Sabha attempted to invade the turf in the 27th minute of the match protesting the participation of nine Pakistani players in the league in the wake of mounting tension over Pakistan army's alleged brutal killing of two Indian soldiers recently at the Line of Control.
The two activists of youth wing of Hindu Sena were overpowered by the security officials and dragged out of the venue.
In the game, Delhi were by far the better side on display as they scored a goal each in the first two quarters (17-and-half minutes) of the opening half.
Punjab, on the other hand, looked out of sorts in the opening half as Australian Jamie Dwyer, Shivendra Singh and SV Sunil failed to combine and lacked coordination upfront.
German Deecke broke the deadlock in the 14th minute when his flick from an acute angle rolled inside the net after getting a deflection from a Delhi defender. Even though it was a self-goal by Delhi, but as per rules Deecke will be awarded the goal.
Nine minutes later Chandi pulled off a stunner as Delhi went into the breather with a 2-0 lead.
Punjab, however, came out with more purpose in the second half and the coordination among their attackers were much better than the opening 35 minutes.
Punjab efforts bore fruit in the 43rd minute when Govers reduced the margin with a reverse flick from the right after being fed by Sunil.
Delhi will also have to thank their German goalkeeper Nicolas Jacobi for keeping their lead intact as he denied Punjab on numerous occasions in the second period.
Delhi goalkeeper was given a tough fight by his rival custodian Jacob Stockmann who kept Punjab in the match with his brilliant display under the bar for which he was adjudged the player-of-the-match.
An unmarked Akashdeep Singh got a golden opportunity to increase the lead for Delhi four minutes from the final hooter but his reverse flick from the left was blocked by Stockmaan.